Learning for Life: The outcome of an educational and motivational program for atrisk youths over a 7-year period

Deodat, Barbara V
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This case study reports on the outcome of a seven-year multi-method structured program of social activities and innovative approaches to the development of non-formal skills for 46 at-risk youths, aged 11 to 15 years, from a low-income community in an urban area of Georgetown, Guyana. These youths were at risk for early sexual activity, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, poor academic performance and dropping out of school. // It all began in 1996 when The Community Church for Better Living (a CBO) in an urban community of the city explored ways to help at-risk youths in the immediate community. Assistance was sought from the Extra Mural arm of the University of Guyana and partnerships were forged with other organizations to provide support for this program. Youth members identified their learning needs and areas of interest and these were integrated into activities that built on one success at a time. // The program ended in 2003. By this time the 11-15 year old had become 18-22 year old and had by then taken on much of the responsibility for the program activities. Today, ten years later, the coordinator, having stayed in touch with many of the participants and followed their progress, found that a majority had achieved worthy careers as well as a sense of social responsibility. They have all attributed their achievements to this program’s early intervention in their formative years and the many lessons they learnt from their involvement in it. // It is the author’s view that the immediate and long-term positive outcome of this program has highlighted how lives of at-risk youths can be changed, molded and motivated with the right intervention, care and attention, at the right time. Such an initiative also underscores the on-going need for, and the importance of such programs for at-risk youths in poor communities. // Paper 133

Skills Development,Lifelong Learning,Youth,Non-Formal Education
Caribbean and Americas